Okay, I’m going to get political here for a minute. Don’t want to read it? Don’t worry, just skip it.
Okay, here’s the deal. I recently said I’m pursuing a computer science degree because I plan to shift (back) to the software world in the near future. This is still the plan. The degree, though, isn’t part of the plan anymore.
In another post, I described how I got FreeBSD 9.1 running on my EOL’d 1st generation MacBook. It was quite a mouthful so I decided to put bluetooth setup instructions in their own post.
Apple thinks this laptop is obsolete. I think Apple gave up on it too soon.
If you’re like me and you felt “stuck” with an orphaned 1st generation MacBook, it’s time to get unstuck. If you can give up on the idea of running a solid installation of Mac OS (Snow Leopard is as new as it gets, and at 32 bits, it’s losing applications by the hour), a bright and only slightly labor-intensive future awaits with freely available flavors of *NIX.
Like many posts on this blog, this one is meant more to help me remember than anything else. If others benefit, huzzah.
I’m in the process of dropping Dropbox. Amazon S3 is a fraction of the cost and is less limited. It’s cryptic as hell, though, so I anticipate a lot of hair-tearing while I figure it out.
I know I’ve threatened this in the past, but now I need to make good on my promise. WordPress has to go. I need to ditch this POS CMS and quick.
The details behind my decision are probably only interesting to me so I won’t make you suffer through them. The short and sweet version: WordPress upgrades are no longer safe for child themes, one of which runs on this site. I’ve lost enough hours recovering from WordPress silliness. It’s time for greener pastures.
I will do my best to extract content out of the database and insert it into the new site’s database. I know this won’t be easy and lots of stuff will be lost. The CMS that I’ve been building is lame and I don’t really plan to remedy that, so I’m going to accept these losses as the price of progress.
Also, pingbacks and links will break. If I had days to work out 301 redirects for every post and portfolio piece, believe me, I’d do it. Ain’t gonna happen, though. I apologize in advance.
Sounds rough, right? It’s not easy. I’ve started and killed many websites over the years but this one has actually served a purpose so I’m kinda queasy about changing it. Regardless, I don’t trust WordPress anymore so I don’t feel like I have a choice.
The benefits for me will outweigh all of the above:
- I will no longer suffer through Mac-truck-size updates that may or may not break themes during normal site operation.
- I will have a significantly simpler site to manage which will permit me to experiment more easily and add functionality without untying a Gordian knot.
- I will own my damn content, all in a format that is agnostic and easy to repurpose (RESTful APIs, anyone? Mobile dev? Friggin’ Roku boxes? The list is endless). And…
- when the site needs a major update, I’ll be the dude creating the update. No more bullshit surprises.
The new site (I discussed it briefly in an earlier post. I’d link to it, but that part of WordPress’ post admin seems broken) is currently just a blog, programmed with the CodeIgniter framework, has a dog simple admin system, and is nowhere near production quality. And I’m deploying it soon. Dog food, meet my mouth. I may offload my portfolio stuff to an outside service because I don’t feel the need to maintain iron-fisted control over it. The work mostly belongs to others, not me. I’m just showing what it looked like.
Eventually I plan to ditch CodeIgniter for Laravel or some other not-Rails-but-Railsy framework. Don’t know. All I know is I want to replace WordPress. After this morning, my motivation is at an all-time high.
I hope to have updates soon.
I recall from my past an old SNL commercial/skit that advertised a stand-in device for folks that couldn’t (or wouldn’t) attend events that involved loved ones. This device—a small box with some switches and a speaker, nothing more—would do things like cheer for your kids at their soccer games or cry for you at funerals, freeing you up to play golf, watch TV, etc., whatever you wanted to do more than attending the actual event. The commercial ended with a funeral service that was attended by a roomful of seats filled with these wailing devices.
Lately, I’ve begun to think Twitter is like that closing funeral scene: instead of actual people typing/sending Tweets in real-time, we have “RoboTwitters” run by social media professionals, many of whom prefer scheduling their human/digital interactions. The tweets these folks send hit your Twitter feed hours or even days after they’re written, not unlike web pages or other delivery mechanisms that are not real-time.
Call me old fashioned (I’m so 2007) but the whole idea behind services like Twitter seems to fly in the face of scheduling tweets. It’s supposed to be real-time, that’s the whole point of it. For all I know, half the tweets that pop into my Twitter feed are from folks that have died. I’d never know because some of these people have tweets scheduled to be auto-delivered weekly, and some have stacks of curated “helpful links” that will be dripped into Twitter slowly over days, weeks…maybe months? I wouldn’t be surprised.
This forces me to question how savvy many of our social media “experts” are regarding actual human interaction. Engaging by proxy or through a scheduler feels like mailing it in to me. Yes, I understand that some kinds of advertising are produced in advance and leaked out slowly (radio/TV ads, for example), but these are not supposed to be real-time. Twitter is real-time. If it isn’t, be sure to let the fine folks at Twitter know so they can stop optimizing their services.
And let me know so I can completely ditch Twitter for something more pseudo-human. Sorry, but RoboTwitter folks are lifeless and boring. And unlike radio/TV advertising, I’m not forced to listen or watch.
The “unfollow” button beckons.
It happens every few years: I get tired of Vim, I try another editor, I get proficient in said editor, then for no reason at all I go back to Vim. Familiarity? Comfort? Masochistic? Don’t know. But like a dog returns to its vomit, I return to Vim. And I love it all over again.
This round with Vim has been accompanied by lots of customization. Things like a custom status bar that changes colors depending on whether I’m in insert or command mode and an emacs-like “scratch” buffer that I can call up whenever I want with a few keys. Lame-o, I know, but I felt like each was quite an accomplishment. I haven’t customized Vim like this ever in the 17 years I’ve been using it so pfffthththtthh.
I never thought it could be possible to do this, but hey, turns out it works.
Tonight, I stumbled upon a StackOverflow webpage that details how to mimic a lot of NERDTree’s functionality (at least the stuff I used in NERDTree) using netrw. It mostly boils down to including the following code in your ~/.vimrc file:
" Toggle Vexplore with Ctrl-E function! ToggleVExplorer() if exists("t:expl_buf_num") let expl_win_num = bufwinnr(t:expl_buf_num) if expl_win_num != -1 let cur_win_nr = winnr() exec expl_win_num . 'wincmd w' close exec cur_win_nr . 'wincmd w' unlet t:expl_buf_num else unlet t:expl_buf_num endif else exec '1wincmd w' Vexplore let t:expl_buf_num = bufnr("%") endif endfunction map <silent> <C-E> :call ToggleVExplorer()<CR> " Hit enter in the file browser to open the selected " file with :vsplit to the right of the browser. let g:netrw_browse_split = 4 let g:netrw_altv = 1 " Default to tree mode let g:netrw_liststyle=3 " Change directory to the current buffer when opening files. set autochdir
The “Default to tree mode” bit near the bottom was added by Yours Truly. It’s important to me for no reason other than I like collapsible trees better than netrw’s default mode.
As the code above says, hitting CTRL-E opens/closes the netrw tree. Highlight a file and hit ENTER and the file will be loaded in a window to the right of the netrw window. Hit CTRL-E again and netrw goes away. Lather, rinse, repeat.
So, so cool. I love ditching plugins, and NERDTree was always a bit of a pain in the ass. It never installed cleanly, it doesn’t work at all with Pathogen (a Vim plugin manager) in spite of claims to the contrary…goodbye. I’m a happy hippo again.
I’m a self-taught web developer with a BFA (graphic design emphasis). My original plan when pursuing my BFA was to take the existing programming side of my brain, combine it with the other, artsy fartsy side, and build a career as a front-end web developer. If you’ve seen websites built by front-end web developers without an eye for design, you’ll know why this plan made perfect sense. And in a way, it still does make sense. The web is much more visual now than it was when I first started playing with it in the early 1990s. I don’t see how any front-end web developer can survive without some design chops.
That said, I think today’s web is going down the proverbial toilet, and I’ll be happy to tell you why.